Friday, May 19, 2006

When I Burn Gas, I'm Supporting the War (and Every Other American Policy I Disagree With)

It seems so simple, but it's so hard to wrap one's head around. Everything presented to us in the media is so separated - this event happens here, this policy happens there, the president does this, congress votes for that. It's difficult to see the direct result of any actions that we personally take.

But the realization has been dawning on me that every single action I take is tied to every action taken "out there" in the political world. The war wouldn't be happening if almost every American wasn't burning way too much gas (and not just in our cars, but with our lifestyles, the things we buy, what we eat, etc.) Going to peace rallies and writing our congressman is all well and good, but if we are going to effect any positive change whatsoever, it is imperative that we stop doing this now. More wars will have to be fought for oil if we continue to use it to fuel our existance. If I wouldn't be willing to sacrifice my kids to those future wars, then I can't, in good conscience, live a lifestyle that will require them to be fought.

So, for personal accountability, I've started keeping a mileage log. My immediate goal is to bring my gas-powered miles below my human powered miles, specifically my transportation miles (not my biking and running for exercise and fun miles). If you are interested in effecting real change in our world, in the policies of our nations and leaders, and in our future, I urge you to give this a try as well. Of course, there are more pieces to the pie than just this. Not buying unnecessary stuff, buying local food, etc. etc. But this is a good first step at personal accountability for what is going on "out there"

Mileage For the Week

Car, Gas: 43 miles, 2.2 gallons
Car, Gas, Carpooling: 21 miles, 1 gallon/2 families = .5 gallons
Car, Biodiesel: 41 miles, 1 gallon
Bike, with kids: 21
Bike, town, no kids: 11
Walking, with kids: 1.5

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What's a Farm (urban or not) Without a Tire Swing?

My hard-working husband took a break from hauling gravel and putting in garden beds to throw one of my old climbing ropes around this old tire that M. and a friend dragged out of the river last year. It took them about an hour to unstick it from the lovely muck it was embedded in, and figure out a way to carry it between the two of them (which involved using a long stick that they each carried an end of). They arrived back at our picnic spot covered in mucky goo, holding the tire between them on the stick like a muddy caricature of the hunters of yore, and insisting that we had to bring it home to use as a tire swing. Being as I am not as attached to the interior of my car as some might be, we found a way to wrap it in bags and newspaper and bring it along. It has sat in the garage ever since, my son resisting fiercely any attempt by my husband to recycle it, sure it would find it's place as our tire swing eventually. Now the day has come, the underbrush is sufficiently cleared out to have a good swinging spot, and you can see the happy expression on the tenacious tire hunter.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Chick Butts

How could I forget about the chick butts (and do you think I'll get lots of Google hits with a post title like that)? We just got our new baby chickens this weekend, and since we haven't had babies in a year, we had to go buy some starter feed, drag out the heat lamp, and of course I had to resume my role as the checker of the chick butts. Baby chicks are occasionally prone to a condition known as "pasting up" in professional poultry circles, which I won't go into great detail about except to note that I have to check and make sure they don't get chick poo on their back ends which can cause them no end of intestinal problems.

Of course, the chicks do not like this little exercise, and if last year is any indication the chicks will bond to everyone in the family but me. For months to come, even after they've outgrown the tendency to paste up, they will see me coming and take off: "Oh no! It's that crazy lady who wipes our butts!" Run!" This makes me the second least likely person to be able to catch a chicken if it accidentally gets somewhere it's not supposed to be. My daughter, who likes to pick up the chickens and carry them around singing to them, can catch any of them with ease. My son, who has a natural affinity for animals is pretty good at it too. My husband trying to catch a chicken is an act worthy of a vaudeville stage, however, and we have all gotten a few good belly laughs at his expense. Cheap entertainment here on the Blue Skies Farm, almost as good as a greased pig :) Now that I am the person who regularly takes out the kitchen scraps to the chickens, all I have to do is walk outside with a tupperware container in my hand and they will all follow me like the poultry pied piper. Apparently, the memories of the days when I was the tender of chicken butts has finally faded, as it hopefully will for today's chicks.